Advocacy Out and About

Who would have thought a trip to the shops would prompt me to write a blog post? Not me!  But here I am, late at night, writing a blog post about my shopping experience.  Anyway, what prompted this post was a short conversation with a young college student working on the tills.  As always at this particular supermarket, the cashier decided to take an interest in my private life….so far, so awkward.  It got ‘interesting’ when we moved onto my place of work.  It went something like this:

Were you working today?


Where do you work?

The local university library.

What do you do there then? Do you just stamp books all day?

[trying not to roll my eyeballs] No, I work with a small team managing our e-resources, e-journals etc.

It was rather interesting to note the change in demeanour when he realised that there was more to working in a library than ‘stamping books’!  But sensing an opportunity to expand the conversation on libraries, I asked him if he was a member of his local library.  He said he wasn’t.  I then went on to explain to him the benefits of joining the local library, particularly in terms of assisting his studies through the use of the online resources.

This kinda got me thinking.  So often we (maybe it’s just me!) are a bit wary of getting too familiar with cashiers when they start asking us how we are and what we have been doing etc etc.  As well as it being an opportunity for the supermarket to be seen as a friendly, inviting establishment that you want to return to (although that is questionable!), maybe it is a good opportunity to turn the tables and sell to them.  Challenge their perceptions of libraries and librarians, whilst also saving yourself from the small talk and talking about something interesting instead!


3 thoughts on “Advocacy Out and About

  1. I agree it is a good idea to take the opportunity for advocacy. Especially when it was so beautifully presented to you.
    But I don’t think that misunderstanding your job description is only something that happens to library staff. I have heard people say childcare workers “play” with kids all day, or hydraulic fitters just put “o” rings on things all day…I even had a friend who was a priest who said people say “I went to church once” when they hear his job.
    However, given that the whole community are potential clients for libraries, I think all opportunities should be seized.

  2. Pingback: Arguing with fools and drunks | sarahcchilds

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